John Laird pulled away from Vicki Nohrden the morning following the March 3 election after the two were locked in a tight battle for the State Senate 17th District seat in the first round of reporting, early unofficial results showed.

As of 9:07am March 4, Laird received 42 percent of the vote to Nohrden’s 36 percent. In the first results released the night of March 3, Laird led Nohrden by only 171 votes, but the number has now ballooned to more than 12,000 votes.

In Santa Clara County, however, Nohrden garnered 204 more votes than Laird, and led all candidates with 34 percent of the vote as of 10am March 4.

The race features three Democrats—Laird, Marie Cadenas and John Nevill—and one Republican, Nohrden.

Laird is a former Santa Cruz mayor and city councilman. He also is a former Democratic state Assembly member who lost a previous bid for California Senate. He was appointed by former Gov. Jerry Brown to head the state Department of Natural Resources and Development.

Nohrden, who lives in Carmel, has served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate, and a member of the Civil Grand Jury.

Cadenas, a Santa Cruz Democrat, is executive director of Santa Cruz Community Ventures.

Nevill is a rancher from King City. He unsuccessfully ran for the State Assembly 30th District seat in 2016 as a Republican.

Cadenas and Nevill are currently positioned in third and fourth, respectively.

The 17th District encompasses Gilroy and Morgan Hill, as well as all of Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo counties and parts of Monterey County.

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Erik Chalhoub joined Weeklys as an editor in 2019. Prior to his current position, Chalhoub worked at The Pajaronian in Watsonville for seven years, serving as managing editor from 2014-2019.


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